Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Princess Update

Sheesh, how do other mommy bloggers do it? I've been writing this post for 3 days!

Princess is just over 5 weeks old.

Average Feeding Cycle: 3 to 4-hourly
Average Feeding Time: Bottle - 20 min. Boob and bottle - 50 min.
Approximate Weight: 4kg
Average Saffa Chick sleep: 2 or 3 hours per night feed cycle, one 1 hour nap during the day. Total: 6 to 8 hours. (This past week I had a few late nights and missed the first sleep period each time, plus I missed a few afternoon naps. I was running on 4 hours sleep a night, and ready to kill!)

Most babies hit a growth spurt during weeks 5 and 6, need more food, and will feed almost constantly for up to 4 hours every night. Princess is following this model like clockwork!

Sadly, my boobs are just not performing to requirement any more. We had a few truly miserable days where I never seemed to have enough to satisfy her. Feedings moved from 4-hourly to 3-hourly again, sometimes 2-hourly. My nipples ached and we were both getting very frustrated. The formula feed I tested for my babysitters made us realise that there was another option, and after several hours of angry baby-munching on my boobs last Friday evening we mixed up a bottle and she drained it. And was happy.

I am now supplementing my breastmilk with formula, and I believe that Princess is getting the best of both worlds - the antibodies from me and her hunger satisfied by the formula. I've decided to breastfeed dawn and dusk (plus bottle top-up), and formula feed the rest of the time, mainly to get my boobs into a routine so that they don't engorge and leak at awkward moments! I thought I'd struggle with this, but after just one day of discomfort (and waking up drenched in milk) I'm now only full at morning and evening. Isn't the body amazing?

I've very conflicted. On the one hand I am disappointed that I can't be supermom and meet all my baby's needs myself, and I'm scared of what the breastfeeding Nazis are going to say to me when they see me give Princess a bottle. On the other it is wonderful to have a contented baby, and for others to be able to feed Princess while I do something else. I was rather teary for a day or two about it, but Milord and his sister were very supportive, as were the couple of friends I have told so far. At the end of the day - if baby and mum are happy and healthy, does it really matter all that much?

At least I managed a full month of exclusive breastfeeding... *sigh*

Hey Kat - recognise the blanket you knitted? We call it "The Kat-blanket"!

Princess is as adorable as ever. I can't get over how fast she is growing. She is just out of her 0000 sized clothes and the 000 items are fitting. She spends time staring intently at our faces, and her grasp is amazing - I have to gently unclench her hands from my top when I put her down. My days of wearing necklaces are nearly over, and I'm glad I have short hair! She also has jolly sharp fingernails - I gently file them down while she sleeps after a feed every week or two. She had her first manicure at 5 days old!

Princess seems to have fuzz growing over her bald head-top, so now my baby has a bad mullet rather than male-pattern baldness. Not sure which is worse! She has had a peeling forehead and head-top for a couple of weeks (normal - "cradle cap"), and pimples (normal - "milk rash"). This is all caused by my hormones slowly leaving her system... they say that at 3 months she'll have perfect skin again.

A typical "good" day:
  • we all sleep from 10pm-ish the night before...

  • 1:00am - 2:00am feed

  • sleep (me: sleep)

  • 5:00am - 6:00am feed

  • sleep (me: sleep)

  • 7:30 Milord gets up and goes to work

  • 9:00am - 10:00am feed

  • sleep (me: shower, dress, laundry, dishes, tidying, cleaning, breakfast)

  • 1pm - 2pm feed

  • sleep (me: lunch and nap OR lunch, shopping, bills, budget, email, blog)

  • 4:30pm bath

  • 5pm - 9:30pm cluster feed (Milord plays tag with me as we get dinner ready and eat)

  • 10pm Princess is in bed and Milord and I will follow shortly.

Notice there is nothing there about exercise - I haven't quite managed to fit that into my day yet! Or socialising... I assume I'll get the hang of it sometime!

On a "bad" day Princess does not sleep, or not for very long, and I am lucky to manage the shower and meal items of my to-do list! I've been lucky so far this week though - she's sleeping well.

We had Milord's sister and 12-year-old niece for a week recently. I'm lucky with my in-laws. Milord's sister was happy to help with anything I asked, from cooking to cleaning to minding Princess while I showered or napped. The niece is a very nice child who is itching to play with her new cousin. However, I find that having them gone is an enormous relief... I can read my book, watch what I want to on TV, go to bed early without feeling like a bad hostess, and I don't have to hear them using baby-talk - to Princess and to each other! Ugh, hearing a 12-year-old talk to her mum in squeaky lisping baby-speak is nauseating. Milord and I haven't used baby-talk with Princess so far, and after hearing it for a week we've agreed to never do so!

They did give Milord and me a night out "alone" last Friday though, which was wonderful. We went to a pub for a couple of drinks, and then for dinner at a little restaurant. After an hour and a half we agreed to try to talk about something other than the baby, and after 2 hours we were both itching to call home to check on her, but resisted! We got home to find that Princess had been an angel. A perfect date night!

Mom is arriving in about a month's time to spend a few weeks with us, and I'm sure she'll give us a date night too... I'm already looking forward to it! What's more, she has foolishly volunteered to have Princess in her room, and to get up and change and feed her in the night to let Milord and me rest. Wow. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to that!!! We haven't slept for longer than a couple of 4-hour stretches in nearly 6 weeks. While we're coping, the thought of an uninterrupted 8 hours gives me the shivers.

I hear other new parents out there are saying "No one told us it was going to be this hard!". Well, when I was pregnant I was told by everyone I know with kids, and by complete strangers in the street, that it was going to be hard. And it is. I try not to moan about it here, but I've had a few meltdowns over the past 5 weeks. I have sat literally weeping with frustration holding Princess in the pre-dawn hours while she feeds for the umpteenth time, or simply will not settle and LET ME SLEEP.

All I can say is the best advice I was given: Take it one day at a time.

Oh, and TELL your partner what you need - Milord didn't realise that getting dinner on the table was my biggest problem until I went to pieces about it after 3 weeks!


waterbob said...

Hey Chick - great post and fascinating. I presume your guy is like me. We need a lot of telling. We do want to help but assume that if you are quiet you have everything under control and are well. We are not sensitive or good mind readers and are amazed when you reach eruption point.
Great to see the first smiley pic!

Lisa said...

HEY Cuz! You ARE a supermom! You are also normal although Grace is THE most beautiful baby in the world (after Jack ). I get furious listening to spoilt moms who have night nurses and full time housekeepers and get to manicure/pedicure and gym themselves into a coma (in fact, so furious - watch my blog). You are doing great! You can be very proud of y'all!

Kat said...

Hey my blanket made it onto the internet! I am so proud :)

Hey and at least you managed a whole month of breast feeding and haven't had to stop totally now... that is way better than a lot of people manage!